Friday, 18 December 2015

Oh Happy Day! New books!

I have to start with what happened yesterday - I finally received my self-Christmas-gift! Around three weeks ago I ordered "Botanical Sketchbook" by Mary Ann Scott with Margaret Stevens. A book is always a great gift. I was waiting for this particular book very impatiently, because I was very, very curious what is inside. And it totally blew me away! Can you imagine that I spent the whole day until 2 a.m. at night, not drinking, not eating, with an English-Polish dictionary next to me, reading this book?! And I read it from cover to cover! 

This is what we read on the back cover:
This is the story of Mary Ann Scott's development from enthusiastic amateur painter to supremely accomplished botanical artist, told through the paintings she produced for the Distance Learning Diploma Course run by the Society of Botanical Artists. Featuring work from every assignment she undertook, it offers a first hand account of the joys and challenges she faced as she progressed. Packed with practical advice, Botanical Sketchbook will serve as a guide and inspiration to anyone wanting to embark on life as a botanical artist."
It describes this book very well and I must add that it is just a must-have for everyone who is interested in botanical painting. I was fascinated not only by the detailed description of the whole Mary Ann Scott's journey through every assignment (I've found out how the Distance Learning Diploma Course works), but also by those just absolutely amazing paintings inside the book. I especially love all the pages from the sketchbook, all those color swatches with handwritten comments, which were a true pleasure to read. On the front cover there is a subtitle "A guide and inspiration for any botanical artist". This book is one of the most inspiring books I have, honestly. I was just hypnotized by every single page and I can truly recommend this book to everyone who hasn't got it yet. Satisfaction guaranteed! Here is a quick flick through:

This is not the end. Today we've had a small Chrismas Eve with my friends before we go to our hometowns for Christmas. And guess what... I was given another book! Billy Showell's "Watercolour fruit & vegetable portraits"! I'm in a half way of reading it now, but I just had to write this blogpost, because I'm so excited. Two wonderful books. I have previous books of Billy Showell. The only book about botanical painting in Poland (!) translated into Polish (!) is Billy Showell's "A-Z of Flower Portraits". This was my first ever book concerning botanical painting and I think Billy's style of painting has influenced me the most. Since then I started collecting other botanical painting related books, of course from abroad as we don't have any here. I have all three Billy's books now (and I'm already waiting for the new one which will be published in 2016, I can't wait).

Now, I have never painted any vegetable nor fruit. But again, Billy's book, as all of her books, is so inspiring, it has so many fantastic paintings inside, so many tips, techniques, explenations, that I just fell the urge to pick up my brush and paint a tomato from my fridge. All Billy's books are excellent, they are truly informative and I always recommend them to everyone who wants to start painting. Here is a quick flick through:

It's a real pity that all those wonderful books are not translated into Polish. But eventually, with a litlle help of the dictionary, I can read English versions. Maybe one day, if botanical painting will be more popular here, there will be a possibility to translate them and someone will publish them. As for now my little library of books about botanical painting is getting bigger:

I'm absolutely fascinated by botanical painting and I love books about it. 


  1. can you tell a few example of those assignments? I'm very new to painting with watercolour. Is this book suits for a newbie?

    1. Hi Yuliani! I highly recommend that you visit Katherine's website and especially the section here:
      Katherine has gathered all the information about assignmnts + blog posts of people who took part in this course and they are sharing their work on their blogs.
      Is this book for a newbie? Well, you will not learn how to paint from this book, because it shows completed sketches and finished works of Mary Ann Scott. If you would like to learn how to paint, I recommend Billy Showell's books (all of them are great) and online tutorials, and you can also check out Julia Trickey's website and her new online tutorials.

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